Buttigieg is proposing a public option health care system, which would give Americans a choice between purchasing private or government-run health insurance. According to Sanders, such a plan is unworkable, because the government system would be overwhelmed with the most expensive patients.
“When you talk about having a system where you’re going to have private insurance and you’re going to have (a public) option going in,” the Vermont Senator said, “the rich and the healthy will go into private insurance, the poor and the sick will go into Medicare and cost that system an enormous amount of money.”
“So it’s a failed idea in my view,” he opined.
According to Sanders, the pharmaceutical and health care industries have created a “dysfunctional, cruel system that is very, very expensive,” so single-payer health care is the best way forward.
Buttigieg’s plan would maintain that “unfair” system, Sanders said.
“If Buttigieg or someone else wants to maintain that system, I think it’s really unfair to the working families of this country.”
Sanders has been advocating for single-payer health care for decades, and his Medicare for All bill is already in the United States Congress, but lacking support from Republicans and other Democrats.
Sanders is the only presidential candidate committed to socialized medicine, everyone else has embraced public option, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Warren, who long claimed to support single-payer health care, officially moved away from the policy in November.
As The New Republic reported, Warren released a public option plan, arguing that she would be able to achieve universal health care by the third year of her presidency, when she would try and implement Sanders’ Medicare for All.
According to the New Republic, Warren sent a clear signal that she has “settled” for public option, like almost everyone else in the race.
Buttigieg initially supported Medicare for All as well, but later abandoned the plan for public option.
For the past few weeks, Sanders has been surging in the polls, both nationwide and in key early states. In the latest Post and Courier-Change Research South Carolina poll, for instance, Sanders surged past Buttigieg and Warren, trailing only former Vice President Joe Biden. He has also surged past Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire.
According to multiple Democratic strategists, Biden needs to perform well in the early states in order to maintain his South Carolina firewall and have a real shot at winning the Democratic nomination. Unless he manages to do so, his entire campaign could be in jeopardy.